Supporters of Crow’s Gambit...hmm, supporters sounds so formal...

If we used the poetic name for a group of crows would that make you the Murder of Crow’s Gambit? That’s definitely not what I’m going for. The Flock of Crow’s Gambit? Really, I don’t need a flock following me. The horde, hover, muster, or parcel of Crow’s Gambit?

Maybe we should look at synonyms for supporters instead. The Apologists of Crow’s Gambit? Noooo. The Crusaders of Crow’s Gambit? I don’t think there’s enough support here to really call this a "crusade" yet. Champions of Crow’s Gambit? Hmm...maybe.

Regardless thank you for helping make Crow’s Gambit a reality. However, we are not there yet. We need more crows. Please keep sharing information about the story and if you are fence sitting, come one...it’s the holidays. You know you want to give me a Pre-Order gift.

For those wondering if Santa made it past the Sylph...well, we don’t know. I have been feeling under the weather during the holidays and to be honest, no one voted. If there had been one vote cast either way I would have pushed something out. Guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

Happy holidays!


Supporters of Crow’s Gambit the time has come. 

Everyone who has made a Pre-Order was just sent a survey link where you can help determine Santa’s fate. Does he get shot down by the alien Sylph? Or are his reindeer and sleigh somehow immune?

Voting is open until 5pm (Central) Wednesday Dec. 20th. Anyone who makes a Pre-Order during the next day will also receive the link and a chance to vote.


The end of the year is almost upon us. After some soul searching and consultation with readers and other Inkshares authors I have decided to extend the funding campaign once more. I appreciate those of you who have invested your money in Pre-Ordering the book and I want to assure you that I have devised a cunning strategy to get to the finish line. There are several activities already planned for the upcoming weeks that I hope you will find exciting. Starting with this.

Neil Larson is a former designer of space probes and now Peter Darrow’s right hand man at the Crow Works. He is often seen with a beer in his hand but the story never specifies what KIND of beer. One lucky reader will get to decide what Neil’s favorite is. But wait! That’s a tough decision and you may want to do some research. That’s why we will be raffling off two tickets to the Mankato Craft Beer Expo on Jan. 13th. Tickets to this event usually sell out. These are the Early Admission tickets with a combined value of $100.

Every ebook or print Pre-Order gets you one entry. When we hit 225 Pre-Orders we will hold the drawing. That means your odds are roughly the same (or better) than winning $100 on a $10 scratch off lottery ticket…and you get a book! Of course the more copies you and your friends order the better your chances. 


Santa needs your help!

When the alien Sylph arrived at Earth they eliminated all air and space travel. Now Christmas has arrived and the world waits nervously to find out what will happen to Santa. Will the reindeer be immune? Or will the Sylph weapons vaporize Santa and his sleigh?

I leave Santa’s fate in the hands of my readers. Next week everyone who has Pre-Ordered Crow’s Gambit will receive a chance to vote on what happens to Santa. A short story will be sent out to them on Christmas with the outcome.

Only those who have Pre-Ordered the book will be able to vote. Whether you are on the naughty list or the nice list you’ll want your voice to be heard.


Supporters of Crow’s Gambit I really need your help.

We are still running short of Pre-Orders and it would be great if you could help spread the word to your fellow Inkshares members, Facebook friends, and Twitter contacts. I know it’s a lot to ask so I’m giving you something in return. Below is Vignette #2 code named "Churchill". This is a snapshot into the occurrences of book two in the series, Crow’s Haven. Of course for the second book to happen I need to get Crow’s Gambit published...just sayin...

Vignette #2 (Churchill)

Captain Winslow studied the sonar display. The Churchill could have tracked the surface ship’s cavitation wave from the other side of the Atlantic if they needed to. It was screaming ‘here I am’ for anyone to hear. 

“Is that our target?” he asked the sailor on sonar duty. 

“Yes sir. There is a match with the vibration profile on record. The civilian transport Hermes. Registered to Darrow Shipping under U.S. flag.” 

“Are you absolutely positive son?” Winslow secretly hoped there was some doubt. 

“Positive. Its profile, course, and location are all an exact match. That’s her.” 

“Very well.” The Captain turned back to the rest of the Control Room with a sigh. “Deck officer, take us to battle stations. Stand by to launch UUVs.” 

The officer turned a quizzical face toward him. “Sir?” she asked. 

“Release the hounds Lieutenant.” 

The Lieutenant nodded and issued the orders. Several small unmanned underwater vehicles sped away from the Churchill and toward the surface craft. The Churchill was a Manta class hunter-killer submarine. Built for speed and standoff stealth. While her onboard weapons were substantial the real power was in the fleet of drones she could deploy. 

“Deploy in attack pattern beta Lieutenant.” 

“Attack pattern beta, yes sir.” The Lieutenant scrutinized the work of two sailors as they issued commands to the drones. “UUVs are in position sir.” 

“Very good. Sensor station do you have any other signals in the area? Anything else on the surface?” The Captain silently waited and prayed for divine intervention. 

“The surface is clear Captain. No other signals in the area.” 

Winslow’s shoulders slumped as he let out a large sigh. “Weapons officer, arm the UUVs and prepare to fire on the surface craft.” 

“Captain?” The Lieutenant frowned at him. 

He handed her the small printout he had been clutching in his fist for the last hour. “Our orders are to destroy the vessel Lieutenant.” 

“But sir, that’s a civilian vessel. There are over 300 passengers and crew on board.” 

“Ours is not to question why Lieutenant.” He gave her an understanding smile. “For what it’s worth I will make sure to note your concern in my log. Weapon’s officer on my mark.” The young sailor nodded uncertainly, his finger over the execute button. “Fire,” Winslow commanded. 

In the distance two of the drones accelerated and executed an inverted parabolic course intended to bring them up directly under the target. As they closed the distance their internal electronics automatically armed the detonators to their high yield H-9 explosives. The Weapon’s Officer counted down to impact. 


“Transients,” the signals officer suddenly called out. “Multiple fast movers!” 

Almost simultaneously the weapons officer chimed in. “We’ve lost contact with the UUVs.” 

“We’re getting wide bandwidth diffraction on EM and optical,” the Lieutenant reported. 

“Squid drones,” the Captain concluded. Small highly maneuverable drones that threw out clouds of sharp edged reflective particles that could confuse communications and sensing. If there was a school of squid drones out there then somewhere nearby there was an American Concord class fast attack submarine. And it had probably just watched them fire on the civilian vessel. 

“Helm, make our depth…” 

“New transients!” the signals office interrupted. “Pulse jet propulsors. Positive identification as Mark-72 torpedoes.” 

Yes, the Captain thought to himself. They had been watching. 

Greetings supporters of Crow’s Gambit!

Today I’m giving you a new Crow’s Gambit resource. I have created a Pinterest Board with clips that show some of my inspirations for the story. Each section also has a brief description of what in particular inspired me. Enjoy.

If you haven’t already made a Pre-Order I could really use your help. Please consider clicking that button now. Remember, if the book isn’t published you get your money back. But if it is you’ll get to read the story and the Le Sueur Public Library will get $1 for every copy sold.


Greetings Supporters of Crow’s Gambit.

As I start the process of working on the book to follow Crow’s Gambit I am writing a series of vignettes. They take place before, during, and after Crow’s Gambit as I work out my thoughts on where the story is going. Some pieces may end up getting stuck in Crow’s Gambit, some may end up in Crow’s Haven (book two), and some will just end on the cutting room floor. I will avoid spoilers as much as possible but they will give hints at some aspects of the story.

We currently need 59 Pre-Orders to get to Quill publishing. If you enjoy the story, are just curious about it, or just want to help me out please make a Pre-Order (if you haven’t) or ask a friend to consider doing so.

Here is Vignette #1, code named Joseph.

Joseph, whose name wasn’t actually Joseph, studied the large building through his goggles. They were more than binoculars. The optics did magnify the image but the embedded electronics and algorithms sharpened the image and adjusted the contrast automatically for him. Three dimensional overlays also provided information from the bots that were slowly circling the building. He had deployed a small squadron of them, mostly small fliers but a few creepers for good measure. In terms of hardware they weren’t anything special. Mostly off the shelf technology. The DPU, or data processing unit, and the software code it was running were what gave them their power. If they were discovered the DPU would automatically fry itself and wipe the software. No one would be able to trace them back to him or his government. 

The assignment still made him bristle. He was a senior field operative. Keeping an eye on some American “cowboy” industrialist was beneath his abilities. If Beijing had a specific interest in Darrow Industries they weren’t telling him, and that bothered him. Of course if it was a fluff assignment because Beijing had lost face in him that would be worse. 

A flashing yellow icon on his display indicated the A.I. program that was recording and processing the data had found something interesting, at least in a ones and zeros pattern matching sort of way. Shifting the angle of the goggles he zoomed in on the location indicated. Instantly the image resolved itself with additional information and data tags. Two people were leaving the building. He recognized the first as the young woman who had recently been hired by Darrow. The search algorithms had already identified her as Cassie McIntyre. On the surface there wasn’t anything remarkable about her but several flags and inconsistencies in the data had made the algorithms mark her as an enigma. As such she was indicated with a small question mark in the display. However, it was the person with her who was tagged with the flashing yellow icon. 

She had her arm around the shoulders of a young boy. He looked to be about sixteen years old with dark hair. Joseph repurposed several of the bots to shift their positions toward the front of the building. It was risky to move so many at once. The building’s security systems were much cleverer than he would have thought. On two occasions he had almost been exposed by the automatic sensor sweeps. Seeing little choice he continued to move the bots closer to get a better look at this boy. A flash of static blinked across his eyes and then a list disabled bots started to scroll down the side. Apparently he’d triggered an automatic defense system. Several of his swarm had been fried by an electromagnetic counter measure. 

Joseph sent a recall signal to the remaining bots and started his car. There was no sense in sticking around to see if they sent out a human team to investigate further. On his display a freeze frame image of the boy was displayed. As he watched the pixels adjusted and reformed as the program overlaid more data from multiple bots. The enhancement finished and a red triangle flashed on the image. Next to it another image popped up. Obviously the same person but several years younger. A string of characters appeared and Joseph let out a soft whistle. Maybe Beijing hadn’t lost faith in him after all. 

The characters indicated this was an Obsidian level asset. His orders were to pursue and capture if possible. If not then the asset was to be terminated. Interesting thought Joseph. Very interesting. 

Well NanoWriMo is over and while I wasn’t able to hit the 50k goal I did get 28k of a new weird western story down. I feel a certain loyalty to doing NanoWriMo since that is where Crow’s Gambit originated. Pushing on then...

Welcome to the month of December! My full on push to finish the funding for Crow’s Gambit. Embracing a positive (or exceedingly stubborn) attitude I am pushing on with the story. During December I will be pulling the notes together to start writing the second book in the Crow’s Gambit series.

As loyal supporters of the story you are the first (other than my wife) to know the working titles of the next two books.

  • Book 1 – Crow’s Gambit
  • Book 2 – Crow’s Haven (tentative)
  • Book 3 – Crow’s Redemption (very tentative)

The titles may give you some hint at how things proceed with the story. Let the speculation begin.

As always thank you for your support. If you haven’t picked up a Pre-Order yet please consider clicking that button now.


Happy Thanksgiving supporters of Crow’s Gambit.

Thank you each and every one for your support of the story and your help getting it published. One of the things I am thankful for today is your support.


Greetings Supporters of Crow’s Gambit! Sorry for the silence and welcome to NanoWriMo the National Novel Writing Month.

Some of you have asked where we are with publication. We picked up a few orders during a Halloween cookie offering but not enough. We are still trying to get to the required number of Pre-Orders. And I could really use your help right now.

If everyone receiving this who has not ordered did it now…we would be celebrating! If only half of those who have made Pre-Order got a friend to make an order…we would be celebrating! With your help we can get things kick-started again. Could you give me a hand?

It’s appropriate you are getting this during NanoWriMo. Crow’s Gambit was actually written during NanoWriMo 2015. I am working on a new book for the event this year. It’s a “weird western”. The world is built with elements from several different magical and mythological settings and includes some of the typical Western genres. Honestly right now I’m a little behind in my word count but maybe in a few years you’ll be hearing about this story too.

More to come...no really...I’m serious... :) 

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